How many of you watched Katie the Giraffe give birth at the Dallas Zoo? Did you follow along for days and then miss the actual birth? Cuz that’s what happened here. Luckily, Animal Planet shared the giraffe birth highlights on their website. So in the end, we did get to see the birth of the baby girl giraffe, just not in real time. The kids were so excited when we clicked back on to check on Katie and we saw a baby walking around! But after watching the birth, it also led to a lot of questions. “Why did the baby come out of her butt?” “What’s that string thing hanging out of her butt?” “What’s that string thing hanging from the baby?” “I thought the doctor cut baby’s out of their mommy’s bellies?” Clearly it was time to start teaching the kids about sex. In a very, very general sense.
Now I’ve written before about teaching kids about sex, but I haven’t actually done anything more than explain that their pee-pees are actually called a vagina or penis, that women have breasts because some choose to feed their babies the milk that comes out of them after they have a baby, and they also know that a baby is made from part of the mommy and part of the daddy. They don’t know how the baby gets in the mommy’s tummy, and up until Katie the Giraffe, they thought that all baby’s were cut out of their mommy’s tummy (because I delivered the girls via C-section and they’ve seen the scar). These are all words that we use at home, your words or situations may be different. The point here is is that my kids’ knowledge of sex stopped there.
After the giraffe birth (and the kids’ gross-out when watching it), I explained that not all women delivered babies via C-section, that some babies came out of their moms without her getting cut open. I said that our body has a special place that the baby comes out. I have no idea if that was the right thing to say, but I was put on the spot!
And after a little digging around, I had forgotten that I had bought this book called It’s NOT the Stork! which helps you know what you need to when teaching kids about sex. It’s for ages 4 and up, though I think that some of it (like the whole how babies are really made part) is a little too much for my 5 year old girls and 7 year old boy. I could be wrong (probably), but I don’t think there’s any reason for them to know what sex actually is. And? I don’t want them telling all of their cousins and friends either.
But we did go through the first section all about bodies and how they work. I kind of skipped over the part showing the mom and dad in bed making love, and just told them that mommy and daddy’s bodies come together and the mom’s body gets some of the dad’s body to make a baby. They seemed fine with that. Then we skipped to how the baby grew.
Enter the questions about the baby coming out of the giraffe’s butt. I explained to them that that was not her butt, but her vagina and that some babies come out of their moms that way. They seemed grossed out, but didn’t ask any more questions. It’s Not the Stork! was actually very helpful and I’m glad that I had it to help me through!
Teaching Kids About Sex
I mentioned that I shared tips for teaching kids about sex before, and I thought I’d share some tips that my friend Dr. G gave me that were really helpful during the conversation that the kids and I had:
- Dr. G stresses that this is not one conversation, rather several short conversations. Establish that you are there to listen and answer any questions as best you can. This is what I did with the kids, and it worked. I probably made it sound like one conversation, but this actually has taken place over the last week. I answer what they ask, but not with too many details.
- Start Young – Dr. G also recommends that you start talking about your child’s body and privacy as soon as your toddler notices a difference between boy bodies and girl bodies. Make sure to use the body part’s real name; a vagina is a vagina and a penis is a penis. Also make sure to explain what areas of your child’s body are private (anything a bathing suit covers), and that nobody should touch them there without their permission.
- Talk About Sex, But Details May Be Limited Based On Your Child’s Age – I found a great article on Parenting about how much information to give your child about sex based on age. This has helped make the process easier as well.
- It Gets Easier To Talk About. Once we got through the giggling and embarrassment (probably both theirs and mine!), it was much easier to talk with them about vaginas and penises and anuses (I’m sure that those are incorrect spellings on those last two) and birth. I won’t say it was fun, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. And they were more interested in how babies grow and eat and sleep and poop in a mom’s body than how the baby got there in the first place.
If you’d like to purchase It’s Not the Stork, click the link below! Of if you would like to read more about teaching kids about sex, you’ll find my original post here.
What tips can you share to make it easier for us first-timers when it’s time to begin teaching kids about sex?
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or paid post for the books mentioned above. It’s simply informational because I figure if I need help, chances are there are other moms out there that need help too!